Action Comics #721 (May, 1996)
“The Fortune Plague”
Writer – David Michelinie
Penciller – Kieron Dwyer
Inker – Denis Rodier
Letterer – Bill Oakley
Colorist – Glenn Whitmore
Separations – Digital Chameleon
Assistant Editor – Mike McAvennie
Editor – K.C. Carlson
Cover Price: $1.95
For today’s hop into the world of #Action100, we’re going to discuss an era of Superman I don’t talk about a whole heckuva lot… the few years following The Death and Return has long been one of my blind spots. I guess hopping in on the Man of Steel at the most urgent of times, lends to anything short feeling a bit… blah.
Add to that the “ehh” paper stock. This was the era of “deluxe” comics, an early attempt at goin’ glossy… and man, it just doesn’t do the art a whole lotta service. I’m scared to touch any of the pages for fear that I’m going to smear the inks and colors… it just looks so “piled on”. I’ve said it before, but I was rather pleased when they rolled back to a better quality/less glossy stock while they worked on glossy that would actually work. Though, I think I’d still prefer newsprint… but, I’m kind of an idiot.
Another reason we haven’t discussed many of these here is… my beloved Triangle Numbering. I mean, I love it… but, it doesn’t really lend itself to reviewing just one comic… especially if your review-blog was focused on say… just one of the ongoing-Superman books at the moment.
Well, let’s get to it…
We open in Centennial Park where a man is trying to hold up a woman for her lottery tickets. He taunts her with a broken bottle… but is stopped by the arrival of Superman. The fella takes a run for it… and Superman just lets him go. He can tell that the would-be mugger wasn’t a bad guy… just a desperate one. Well, that’s certainly not a slippery slope, is it? Anyhoo. to show her appreciation, the lady peels off a lotto ticket for the Man of Steel… which he begrudgingly takes.
Back at the Planet, Clark gifts his ticket to a guy named Ted… and has an uncomfortable brush-up with Lois. This was during the time that the engagement was called off… which is one of those times I know about, but always seem to have a tough time placing. They part company before the winning lotto numbers can be read.
Wouldn’tcha know it… everybody wins!
Well, they all think they’ve won anyway… turns out everybody heard different winning numbers being read! Sounds like some fifth-dimensional stuff might be going on. As you may imagine, this leads to quite a bit of mayhem on the streets of Metropolis!
Back at the Planet, Perry sends Lois and Clark off to look into the madness. Lois whispers to Clark that she’ll cover for him… so he can do the “super” work. This is an interesting little piece of the puzzle. I mean, Lois and Clark are broken up… but she still knows. Glad they included this bit.
On the streets… it’s still riot-town. Even at the Ace of Clubs… where our man Bibbo has to deal out some swift and stern “Why I oughta’s”.
It’s not just the lottery that’s causing the world to be hinky… outside, a man is celebrating that he won a brand-new car at the church raffle… because everyone else bought lotto tickets. Well, I guess this is still tangentially lotto-related… anyhoo, his car gets smashed by a giant coin!
The coins continue to fall, almost crushing another fella… Superman winds up saving him… twice! Before imploring him (in four languages) to get his butt home.
We shift over to join Jimmy Olsen… who’s looking less freckle-faced and more… I dunno, toadish? Anyway, he’s wrapping up a date with
his mom Dana, when suddenly he’s rushed by a group of women all wanting nothing more than to jump his ginger bones.
After stopping yet another falling coin from derailing a train, we hop into a couple’s brand-new apartment. The fella here’s wearing a “Property of Alcatraz” sweatshirt… which is kinda silly. Anyway, he wishes that their new pad had a river view… which causes the building to sprout legs and start walking toward the river. Hmm…
Superman’s still saving folks when he notices that the walking building is about to crush the Annual Sons of Ireland picnic at Centennial Park. He manages to bring all the “Sons” to safety just in the nick of time.
Elsewhere, Rob Troupe and Lucy Lane have a chance meeting on the street. Lucy mentions how lucky they were to run into each other, which causes Ron’s spidey-sense to tingle (after all, the entire day’s events have been predicated on “good luck turning bad”)… he yells at her to stay put, just as a gas main explodes a few feet in front of her.
Superman wraps the walking building up in steel cables to halt its progress… leaving our happy couple with a pretty lousy view. We also learn that a little apartment in Metropolis goes for $2,000 a month! Yikes.
We wrap up with Clark returning to his apartment. He hears the shower running and his first thought is that Lois decided to come back. Well, no… it’s not Lois, and it’s not even Bobby Ewing… it’s, well, the fella we all knew it was gonna be, Mr. Mxyzptlk (and boy is it disturbing)… might have to mark this entry “Not Safe for Work”.
This was a neat little throwaway… which is kinda how I look at most Mxy-centric stories. Overly silly, and without much real consequence… Mxy stories kinda tough to look at objectively. I mean, his whole schtick is a gimmick… soon as things start getting silly in a book, it’s just gotta be Mxy.
That said… what can one say about a Mxy story? Not a whole lot, I’m afraid. It’s suitably silly… and the antics look to be getting under Superman’s skin. The use of a lottery to foment the riots was an interesting approach… and even drummed up a fair bit of tension. Of course, when giant pennies started raining, and buildings began doing the two-step, we kinda knew the deal. I admit, I became a bit deflated at that point.
It kinda reminded me of old Twilight Zone episodes… where they start off with so much potential and suspense (luck, good or bad is a neat subject to explore)… but end, pretty much exactly how you thought they would. As for the art… I already said it above, but this early glossy paper really doesn’t do anybody any favors.
Overall… if you’re a fan of Mxy and Mayhem, you’re probably going to dig this. This issue is available digitally.